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Cripple Creek

Square tune with two parts. Key of G or A.

Lyrics for part 1:
Cripple Creek's wide, Cripple Creek's deep.
I wade old Cripple Creek two times a week.
Cripple Creek's wide, Cripple Creek's muddy.
I'm so drunk, I can't stand steady.
Lyrics for part 2:
Going up Cripple Creek, going in a run.
Going up Cripple Creek to have some fun.
Going up Cripple Creek, going in a whirl.
Going up Cripple Creek to see my girl.

Chords (ok to substitute D7 for D).
Part 1: G G C G / G G D G (play this twice)
Part 2: G G G G / G G D G (play this twice)

Fiddle fingering, part 1 (play this twice):
E: 2 2 - - | - 0 - - | 2 2 - - | - - - -
A: - - 3 1 | 2 - 3 3 | - - 3 1 | - - - -
D: - - - - | - - - - | - - - - | 0 2 3 3
Fiddle fingering, part 2 (play this twice):
E: - - - - | - - - - | - - - - | - - - -
A: 1 1 0 - | 1 1 - - | 1 1 0 - | - - - -
D: - - - 3 | - - 3 3 | - - - 3 | 0 2 3 3
Where to place the 2nd finger in key of G? On the low strings (G,D), the 2nd finger goes close to the 3rd finger. On the high strings (A,E), the 2nd finger goes close to the 1st finger.

Links
  • This is a great, great old time recording from 1978. The fiddler is Eldia Barbee and he plays in key of A cross tuned to A.
  • When you play this tune in a bluegrass circle, be sure to quiet down for the banjo leads and singing parts. These guys manage a lot of harmonies and leads sitting around the camp fire with a washtub bass. Expect the bluegrass banjo player to do a sliding twang at the lead in to each part 1 as Earl Scruggs did.
  • This deer hunter sounds like a beginner but he does a nice job putting in saw stroke.
  • Did the Monkees record this song? Nice banjo playing, anyway.
  • Leo Kottke does not play old time style but he is an amazing guitar player. This recording demonstrates more you can do with this simple tune.
  • When you offer to play Cripple Creek, there will always be someone in the crowd who thinks you are going to play "Up on Cripple Creek" by the Band.
Mike Webb on clawhammer banjo.
Cripple Creek. This video lets you see the finger positions relative to frets. The high part starts with a G note fingered as 2nd finger on the E string. Both parts end with a G note fingered as the 3rd finger on the D string. The mandolin has 8 strings but each pair of strings is tuned like one of the fiddle strings. The mandolin tuning, high to low, is EE AA DD GG. Thus, the fiddle fingering is the same.

Dave Hunt plays lots of melody notes. He always plays 2 strings together (double stop). Late in the video he plays part 1 on the low strings (G and D). He mixes a lot of bowing styles including shuffle bow and saw stroke.

I love this performance by Frank George & Jerron Paxton at a fiddle festival (see the wristbands). Fidler plays the 1st part on the low strings sometimes and he mixes long bow and saw stroke.

Tommy Jarrell fiddles Cripple Creek.

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